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Old 07-15-2016, 03:30 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

Photography is the IQ/A artistic TL skill of producing photographs and moving pictures. The defaults are IQ-5 or Electronics Operation (Media)-5, and no skills default to Photography. The skill covers both taking pictures or movies, and processing them, in a darkroom or electronically. Taking and electronic processing can be done at default, but darkroom processing requires actually knowing the skill. Photography appeared at GURPS 1e.

Photography appeared at TL5, and movies at TL6. Both forms matured, technically and artistically, at TL6, but the equipment improved considerably at TL7 and early TL8, before the digital photography revolution in the early 2000s. The skill is boosted by Gifted Artist, and listed modifiers include -3 for unfamiliar equipment and -3 for motion pictures. The latter is improvable as an Average technique, and is used as an example of technique design, on B229 and B233, being fairly simple and dealing with something that almost everyone understands a little. Some kinds of photography, notably the art of finding pictures in the environment, could well float the skill to Per, and/or have Stealth as a complementary skill.

Photography is a common skill on templates for anyone who may need to collect intelligence. Action has rules for this, and High-Tech has equipment. Horror touches on the (Spirit) specialisation, for Kirlian devices, and mundane photography, for horrifying, yet ambiguous, evidence. Infinite Worlds has time viewers whose images are very difficult to photograph, and Britannica-6 has advanced photography for its TL, but with a properly steampunk style. Monster Hunters has photographic equipment with quality variations and Kirlian film, and Mysteries has police support staff with Photography as a significant job skill. Power-Ups 1, 3 and 7 have examples for this skill, while Psis and Psi-Tech have even more on Kirlian photography. Social Engineering points out that this is also the skill for faking photographs, and Ultra-Tech has very advanced equipment.

Photography was my main interest as a teenager, since I'd never heard of RPGs and I seem to have learned it at better than default. I use that as my example how to learn a skill by self-teaching: do it regularly, read serious books on the subject, learn to use the equipment thoroughly, try different things systematically, keep records of what you do, and review and think about them.

A few of my characters have had this skill, for keeping records and gathering intelligence. But that's about all that I've done with it in a game. Have you done more?
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:17 PM   #2
WaterAndWindSpirit
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

Complimentary roll for Propaganda in order to make the soldiers/leaders on your side look good and look like the liberators and heroes they are/pretend to be?
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:54 PM   #3
Žorkell
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

That -3 for motion picture cameras strikes me as weird. As far as I can tell motion picture cameras are way different from still cameras, the lenses focus differently (as I understand it there's a second man on whose job is to handle the focus of the lens, the focus puller) and use t-stops rather than f-stops.

There is a photography book on the wishlist, I'd love to see that written. I don't think I have enough knowhow to write it myself.

Oh, and yes, Photography is a hobby of mine.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:42 PM   #4
CoyoteGestalt
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

I've always been fond of photography as a profession for PCs. It's a useful skill on an adventure (for collecting evidence, or as a complement to a Cartography or Intelligence Analysis roll), plus professional photographers have a good excuse to turn up pretty much anywhere, carrying all sorts of odd gear, and nobody really pays much attention to them... and even when they do something particularly odd, it just gets ignored as being a consequence of being a daredevil gonzo photojournalist or an eccentric artist.
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Old 07-16-2016, 01:50 AM   #5
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

Quote:
Originally Posted by Žorkell View Post
That -3 for motion picture cameras strikes me as weird.
It is a bit strange, given that there have been lots of people who took reasonable home movies and videos at default. I suspect that there should be some kind of equipment modifier that gives bonuses to default skill, but limits how much actual skill can be applied.
Quote:
As far as I can tell motion picture cameras are way different from still cameras, the lenses focus differently (as I understand it there's a second man on whose job is to handle the focus of the lens, the focus puller) and use t-stops rather than f-stops.
Two-man cameras only seem to be necessary for high-end work with complicated tracking shots and the like. T-stops make sense given the constraints of the job.
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Old 07-16-2016, 04:19 AM   #6
(E)
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

It has some areas where it overlaps with intelligence analysis, calculating sizes and distances using known sizes and focal length etc when dealing with a photograph.
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Last edited by (E); 07-16-2016 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 07-16-2016, 07:47 PM   #7
Žorkell
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

FWIW I'd love more rules about photography. In what way is a 50mm lens different from a 500mm one? How does sensor size have an effect on the final image? Etc. etc.
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:08 PM   #8
Edo
 
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Location: Lovecraft Country, MA
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

Quote:
Originally Posted by Žorkell View Post
That -3 for motion picture cameras strikes me as weird. As far as I can tell motion picture cameras are way different from still cameras, the lenses focus differently (as I understand it there's a second man on whose job is to handle the focus of the lens, the focus puller) and use t-stops rather than f-stops.

There is a photography book on the wishlist, I'd love to see that written. I don't think I have enough knowhow to write it myself.

Oh, and yes, Photography is a hobby of mine.
IIRC motion-picture film has to be developed differently too. I remember a horror story about someone cutting strips of 35mm movie film for camera use; the heat-resistant coating caused the lab a few thousand dollars of ruined chemical baths and angry customers.

I grew up with shop talk; my parents were professional photographers at TL7. (Emphasis on "were"; we never really recovered from the industry shift to TL8.)
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:02 PM   #9
solidsingularity
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

A quick question why is Photography IQ/A when all other Artist skills are IQ/H?
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:15 PM   #10
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Photography

My best guess is that because a lot of the work is done for you by nature.

In comparison to drawing, for example, you don't have the chance to mess up on each line, and on each piece of shading. You do have to find or pose your pictures, and can't create images from nothing, but the technical task of making an image is far easier.
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